November 2017 Journal Plus Magazine

Page 12



kelly ferguson adapting every day items for those with disabilities By Heather Young


elly Ferguson missed being able to hang with his friends and play video games. So he adapted a controller so he could play with them and his twin sevenyear-old sons, James and Liam. Kelly is a quadriplegic, though he has full use of his arms. He is a mechanical engineer, who designs adaptive equipment for people like him. He suffered a spinal cord injury on the C5 level between his freshman and sophomore years at Cal Poly. He was working for a construction company in Salt Lake City when a strong gust of wind caused a pile of wood forms to fall on him — they were not properly tied down and weighed more than 100 pounds each.

Kelly and Karen Ferguson

“I never saw it coming,” Kelly said. “The next thing I knew I was waking up in the hospital.”

ing. At that time he also drew editorial cartoons for a newspaper in San Diego. He also had a website for his cartoon, “Basket Case,” that he was attempting to get syndicated.

He spent two to three weeks in the hospital there and then was flown to a hospital in Los Angeles where he spent five months “learning to do everything again.”

He submitted his cartoon to all the syndicates around the United States twice and he has “all the rejection letters to prove it,” he said

The accident happened in September 1995 right before the fall quarter began, and he was back at Cal Poly by March 1996. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering with a minor in English in 2000. He moved to San Diego in 2001, where he was a consultant for a company that did adaptive engineer-

The Ferguson family: Karen, Kelly, James and Liam N O V E M B E R


Journal PLUS

Kelly with his adaptive pen holder.